High-design hard candies aren’t exactly a new phenomenon—Papa Bubble’s artistic molten sugar sweets swept Europe, Asia, and then the U.S. back in 2008—but despite their popularity, they aren’t all that common. (Compare the number of candy stores to chocolate shops and bakeries you can readily name.) That’s one reason we’re so delighted by Smartbites, the latest project by José Jiménez Lara, a brand strategist and designer who’s created some of our favorite identities for cafes, restaurants, and food purveyors around the world.
But what makes Smartbites extra special is because not only did Lara do all the brand development and graphic design work, he also came up with the concept and even created the candies himself, which is pretty much as close to “breaking the 4th wall” as a print designer can get.
The square, sugar-free candies are divided into seven categories: Safari, Ravioli, Gardens, Gaudí, Mondrian, Gemstones, and Expressionism, all of which represent a specific range of flavors. Some collections have more traditional flavor profiles than others. Safari, for example, includes tropical tastes like tamarillo cherimoya, blackberry coconut, and monstera jackfruit, and Ravioli highlights creamier notes like vanilla caramel and chocolate orange; Gaudí offers tipples like mint julep, whiskey sour, and blue curaçao; Mondrian is more elusive, with love, warmth, and harmony candies; but Gardens is by far the most intriguing—we’re dying to try cosmos corn flower, comfrey dill, and calendula hollyhock.